1.26.2012

Hey, hey, we're the monkeys...

I've been in hat-making mode as of late... so much so that I've developed a slight case of tendinitis in my hands! Now that I've finished up a few projects, I think a little rest is in order... 

My latest project: another sock monkey hat for yet another little niece, due any day now...
 and this little monkey will be ready to keep her head warm! 





I used this pattern, which I bought off Ravelry. 
I slightly modified the flower from the original pattern. I made it smaller than called for, and I placed it on the top like the pompom, rather than on the front brim... I liked it better that way. 
If you'd like to "friend" me on Ravelry, here's my profile

And now, back to painting... 

1.25.2012

Quotables: A. W. Tozer



Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity. People of
the world usually pass through the circle of disciples to reach
Christ, and if they find those disciples severe and sharp-
tongued they can hardly be blamed if they sigh and turn away
from Him... The low state of religion in our day is largely due
to the lack of public confidence in religious people.

    - A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men

1.19.2012

In Which I Address the Entrepreneurial, Geek-ish Sort.

Do you do art & craft shows or run a small business of any kind? Have you ever missed out on sales because you had no way to accept credit / debit cards, or found yourself in a pickle when your friend owes you money for the pizza you just split, yet he or she is out of cash?

Fret no more. My cousin just introduced me to the coolest little gadget....

It's called Square Up, and it looks like this:
 This little joker plugs into the earphone jack of your ipad or smart phone, and it acts as a scanner for credit / debit cards! You simply sign up for an account at the Square Up website, install the software on your iwhatever, plug this doohicky in, and start zipping away. You can even have it calculate and include sales tax automatically. The funds are deposited nightly into your bank account.

The nice part is - you can get the attachment for free when you create an account. They'll mail it to you  - no shipping charges or anything. You are charged a very small percentage on each transaction (which happens whenever you accept a payment via credit card, Paypal, etc. anyway).

I'm really excited about doing future art shows with this thing... I've lost a bunch of sales because people don't always carry cash or checks with them - just cards. But no more.... and best of all, there's no expensive, bulky equipment to rent or buy (which is nice if you only do occasional shows, like me). You also don't have to worry about having electricity available for your tent. SO convenient! If you run any kind of small business, this is a great thing to have...

Now, the disclaimers:

1) I am not being paid or otherwise compensated to advertise this thing. Square Up has no idea I'm doing this post, nor do they probably care. I just think it's cool and handy, and I'm sure other entrepreneurial types will as well.

2) Although this allows you to accept credit card payments, I do not endorse using credit cards. They're an easy way to get in way over your head in debt, quickly. If you can't pay off your balance EVERY SINGLE MONTH, then you need to go all Dave Ramsey on those things and CHOP THEM UP. You might want to do it anyway, since research shows that people tend to overspend when they're paying with plastic rather than cold, hard cash. If you decide to chop your cards up, then fortunately, I will still be accepting cash and checks for any orders you place in my shop (and would prefer those since I don't have to pay the percentage for the transaction). Anyway, be responsible. You'll thank me later.

1.16.2012

The List that Never Ends: # 491-500

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Thanking God today....

# 491. ... for new friends.

# 492. ... and for old friends.

# 493. ... for a fun day in one of my favorite places in the world: Williamsburg, VA.

# 494. ... for lotion and lip balm for dry skin and lips.

# 495. ... that even in a new place surrounded by new people, you can find other believers and have something instantly in common.

# 496. ... for some "down time" with Josh after a very stressful couple of years and lots of time apart.

Every time we've been in Williamsburg (3 times together),
we've taken pictures in the stocks showing how many years we've been married. So this was for 8 years....
# 497. ... for GPS - wow, what a lifesaver in a new place.


# 498. ... for projects that keep hands busy and heads warm...


# 499. ... for Raleigh Tavern Bakery gingerbread and hot cider on a chilly day.

# 500. ... for 500 blessings and counting...
Linking up at:



1.11.2012

A Very Thingish Sort of Thing...


My Needle Felted Pooh Doll
Watch the tutorial videos here:
 Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
I just learned a Thing from a reader that I had to share with you.... however, once posted, it may turn out to be like one of those sorts of Things that Winnie the Pooh describes in A. A. Milne's classic children's book:

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."


But I guess I'll risk it.
I, at any rate, think it's very Thingish.

Anyway, one of my readers had watched the tutorial series on making your own needle felted Pooh that I posted a while back, and she was kind enough to take the time to write a little note to thank me for the videos and to share some very interesting facts with me about the original stuffed animals that inspired the beloved children's books by A.A. Milne.

Like me, you may not have been aware (until now) that the original toys that belonged to the REAL Christopher Robin Milne are on permanent display at the New York Public Library.  My reader, whose friend had been hired by Milne's publisher to do some conservation and cleaning work on the toys, got to "meet" Pooh in person and even give him a little squeeze before he went to his new home at the library. How cool is that?



But do you want to know what my favorite "fact" was about the real toys? My reader's friend discovered that Pooh had one loose limb when she was doing the conservation work.... Guess which one it was???

Illustration by E. H. Shepard
{image source}

Doesn't that just make you smile? It reminds me of this passage from The Velveteen Rabbit written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson:
“What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day... "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
*******

So, if that's the case, I guess Pooh is a real Bear after all.
Hope you're having a lovely week....

1.09.2012

The List that Never Ends: # 481-490

Thanking God today...

# 481. ... for providing a great furnished house for us to rent while we're in VA for the next few months. It has everything we needed/wanted, nice landlords, and is budget-friendly - totally hassle-free compared to the other options we were considering. Yay.

# 482. ... for books by G. K. Chesterton, specifically Orthodoxy at the moment. The way he thinks/writes makes me chuckle out loud while reading.

# 483. ... for orders every day since I reopened my shop...AFTER Christmas! (...and thank you for that as well, dear readers...)

# 484. ... for the chance to see what it's like to live pretty close to the beach - a first for me.


# 485. ... for opportunities to see and experience new things and places.

# 486. ... that one of Josh's sisters and her family live nearby, so we're not totally unconnected in this new place.

# 487. ... for a new Keurig coffee maker - oh so good...

# 488. ... for a bunch of opportunities over the holidays to spend time with friends and family before leaving.

# 489. ... that my Mom's dog wasn't lost or dog-napped, just hiding in the woodpile....


# 490. ... for a New Year and 4 new lives in Christ (three of my nephews and once niece)...



Care to join in with your own list?
Visit Ann's blog....


Happy Monday.

1.05.2012

New Year, New Digs

Well, happy 2012. I didn't fall off the face of the earth, despite what you may have been thinking. We've just had a terribly busy few weeks! In addition to all of the festivities surrounding Christmas and New Year's, we've moved! (Just temporarily.) I am writing this from our new home-away-from-home in Chesapeake, VA.
Because it's only a temporary move, I didn't bring ALL of my art and craft supplies with me, so I won't be doing any custom work or commissions until after May 1st. Instead, I'll be focusing on a few projects that I've had on my mind for a while...

However, my Etsy shop is reopened for business as of today, so be sure to stop by and check it out - you may find a little something on which to spend that Christmas money that's burning a hole in your pocket!

I haven't had a chance to get out and explore the area much yet, but I'll be sharing some photos with you when I do.

In the meantime, I hope 2012 is off to a great start for you and full of new adventures.... it has been for me so far!